Behind the Scenes of “Fréquence”

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“Fréquence”, written and directed by David Mboussou is a short film as surreal and unsettling as it was ambitous to make. Check out the teaser below:

Director and DP

Director David Mboussou and DP Maxime Lebas

Originally from Gabon, self-taught filmmaker David Mboussou is currently studying Marketing & Communication in Paris, France where he devotes as much of his free time as possible to writing, composing and film making.

“I got into filmmaking about two years ago but since I never went to film school I had to learn about the process by reading articles, asking questions and most importantly watching as many films as I could – constantly improving my own craft by trying to match the aesthetics of the films I love.”

You probably wouldn’t notice that “Fréquence” was David’s first time shooting with professional cinema-grade equipment (Red EPIC, Carl Zeiss Lenses). With the help of his cast and crew he managed to craft a kind of atmospheric tension that immediately sucks the viewer into a strange and surreal microcosm that revolves around a fighting couple (Juliette Antonas, Romain Royet) and a priest (Peter Myller) on an espionage mission with mysterious objectives.

“Even before we started shooting I knew I would use the M31 LUT by VisionColor in post, because of how it enhances complementary colors.” says David.

“I was trying to recreate the kind of duality that exists in nature, especially between light and dark.” Because he knew how he and his editor Florian Banchet were going to color grade the film in post, David asked DP Maxime Lebas and production designer Lou-Lilâ Masson-Lacroix to create similar color contrasts on set through lighting and interior design. He adds:

“I don’t like empty spaces, nature doesn’t like empty spaces. Like a painter filling a blank canvas we added colored lights and shapes that were strong enough to fill uniform areas and create the kind of visual complexity the story called for.” 

Thanks to a structured, well planned approach and a clear vision of how he wanted the final film to look like “everything fit together naturally when we finally applied the LUT to the locked edit” says David. For consistency editor Florian Banchet added some additional color correction to match contrast, saturation and skin tones across multiple shots.

What makes this project stand out from a color workflow perspective is how they challenged the general notion among (many) cinematographers and colorists that “shooting for post” strictly implies shooting a flat image leaving as much wiggle room for adjustments in post when it really takes  a clearly defined vision and the collaborative effort of many departments to craft compelling visuals for a film. Maybe we should start thinking of “shooting for post” as something more definitive than just capturing generic images that we hope to substantially enhance by applying a random preset in the editing room. Next time you’re on set don’t think twice about re-lighting the scene or swapping out your talent’s wardrobe if a shot doesn’t work – your colorist (or the colorist in you) will thank you later!

David will submit Fréquence to various film festivals around the world before it will be made publicly available online.

Set photography and Making of © by Juan Ignacio Davila

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